Gift of Life Gala 2022 supports the ‘specially-abled’

Gift of Life USA Founders Flora, Paresh and Dr. Harshil Parekh with Kanak Golia, Sunil Jain, Shashi Malik, Purnima & Tejal Desai, Kamlesh & Mrudula Parekh, Amarish Kachhy, Honorees, Sponsors and Supporters. Photo: Gift of Life USA

The non-profit organization Gift of Life USA, held its Annual Gala this past weekend of April 24, 2022, under the theme “Wings without Limbs” followed by unique message of “Celebrating Life”.

Gift of Life USA was founded by Paresh, Flora and Dr. Harshil Parekh, with the aim of helping “the specially-abled and nurture acceptance and empathy, bridging the gap across the various communities that form our society,” the organization said in a press release.

Honorees- Double Amputee Suffolk County Police Officer Matias Ferreira, Amputee Athlete Amy Palmiero- Winters with Founders Flora, Paresh & Harshil Parekh. Photo: Gift of Life USA

The Gala highlighted the work of the organization, over the years – advocating, supporting and raising awareness of the exceptional talent and will-power of several distinguished differently-abled individuals with various disorders – Autism, Epilepsy, Cerebral Palsy, Asperger, Visual & Hearing Impaired etc.

Honoree Sheila Carpenter – Honored By Naveen Shah – Navika Capital, VTNY President Anil Shah, Rotary 7255 , Paresh, Flora, Emcees Dr. Harshil and Heeta Thakkar. Photo: Gift of Life USA

“Their differently-abled abilities have not stopped them achieving the impossible,” the press release said. The Gala helps bring sponsors, donors and supporters the opportunity to meet the beneficiaries they will be supporting and see their talents for themselves.

Celebrate Life_Party Time!! at the Gift of Life USA Gala on weekend of April 24, 2022. Photo: Gift of Life USA

Emceed by Dr. Harshil Parekh and Heeta Thakkar, the Gala advocated, raised awareness and honored the support of their own Double amputee Suffolk County Police Officer Matias Ferreira and 14 World Records as well as 3 Guinness Books Records Maker Amputee Athlete Amy Palmiero-Winters “who are true role models with the message that ‘Life without Limbs Is Limitless’.”

Emcees Dr. Harshil Parekh and Heeta Thakkar with Paresh, Flora , AIA President Harish Thakkar and Singer Varsha Joshi. Photo: Gift of Life USA

Epileptic Kidney Donor Honoree Sheila Carpenter imparted a confident message about donating a kidney and saving lives.

The event began with a patriotic national anthem by FREE Ensemble followed by a Kick-off to “Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav” tribute to India’s 75 years of Independence by Jagdish Sewhani.

Autistic and Down syndrome performers at April 24, 2022 annual gala. Photo: Gift of Life USA

Young and energetic dancer Angel’s live performance, as well as Varsha Joshi and Group’s singing rocked the floor. Directors Shashi Malik, Kamlesh & Mrudula Parekh, Amarish Kachhy, Neela Pandya and with blessings from Purnima and Tejal Desai, welcomed and thanked several organizational presidents, community leaders, sponsors, supporters well-wishers for their continued support year over year. Directors Kalpana Patel and  Mayur Dalal shared their remote wishes. Kaul Photography made memories with their photography.

Purnima & Tejal Desai Honor Amputee Athlete Amy Palmeiro-Winters April 24, 2022 at annual gala. Photo: Gift of Life USA

Organizers thanked all those involved in making the event a success.

The organization conducts various programs and activities, namely, “Save a Child” Support, “We are Special” Talent & Skill Recognition, “Health & Education,” “Awareness”, “College Scholarships for “Differently-Abled” and “Service Dog Support Program”. The organization awards scholarships to autistic college-going students, promotes and showcases talent of the differently-abled, and generally helps special needs community with health and education needs and much more.

Jagdish Sewhani kicks off Azadi Ka Amrut Mahotsav with Founders Flora and Paresh April 24, 2022 at annual gala. Photo: Gift of Life USA

Apart from combating social stigma by raising awareness about different disorders, the true strength of Gift of Life USA lies in the funding and support it gives to individuals with these various physical and mental disorders, founders said and urged the Indian-American community to embrace and share the organization’s vision of acceptance and compassion of the differently-abled.

Gold chain and gold pendant for raffle. Photo: Gift of Life USA

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